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Electric Heating and Part L 2010

by Mel Starrs on October 22, 2010

in Part L

Below find extracts from an excellent article from BSRIA on the changes to Part L 2010 and NCM.

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet with regards to electric heating for years (my article on the part L 2002 changes which was originally published in Nov 2002 Building Services Journal is now available in the archives now stored on Building magazine. Also this blog post explains some of my more recent thoughts. I’m now feeling old as I’ve been banging on about Part L for 8 years. How did that happen?)

What about electric heating?
It’s always been the case that buildings with electric heating are given a higher target than buildings with gas heating. When electric heating is used, the heating energy use in the notional building is assigned higher emissions than if gas heating were used. In NCM 2006, it’s 37 per cent higher, whereas in NCM 2010 it’s 50 per cent higher.

On the surface this sounds like a huge concession to the electric heating industry. Bear in mind that all other things being equal, the emissions from heating in the actual building will be much higher if electricity is used – about 140 per cent higher using the 2006 emissions factors, or 190 per cent higher using the 2010 emissions factors. So, regardless of whether a building falls under 2006 or 2010 Building Regulations, it will always be difficult to get it to pass with electric heating, and it will only pass if lots of compensating energy efficiency measures are incorporated.

The effect on heat pumps
…Under NCM 2010, if a heat pump is used for heating, the heating energy use in the notional building is assigned emissions 15 per cent lower than if gas heating were used. That means the heat pump will need a coefficient of performance of at least 2.76 to help with compliance. This is still easy to achieve, but it means that heat pumps don’t have quite the competitive edge that they used to have.

So electric heating and heat pumps are still viable, but it is ‘harder’ to pass (reflecting some, but still not all) the current higher carbon used compared to other solutions.

  • cms

    When ‘electric heating’ is selected in the actual building, the notional will actually take on the emission factor (and efficiency) of an oil-fired boiler. This has an emissions factor that is significantly lower than that used for electricity in the actual building. So unlike other scenarios (heatpumps, boilers etc), the notional building doesn’t take on the same fuel as the actual building, and electric heating is greatly disadvantaged. In theory it is still possible to make a building pass using other measures- fabric improvements, heat recovery, low-energy lighting, PVs etc, but this will be a lot harder.